Despite State Tourney Loss to Mendham, Successful Summit H.S. Boys Basketball Season Sets Stage for Bright Future

After a steal, Summit's Jordan Gonzalez and Wayne Wong break back on offense.  The Hilltoppers played a strong game, but fell to Mendham, 53-40, in the State Tournament.

SUMMIT, NJ - Entering the 2014-15 season, expectations outside the program for the Summit High School Varsity Basketball Team were not exactly sky high.  Eighty-percent of their starting line-up had graduated, with point guard Wayne Wong the lone, returning first teamer.

And there was the not-so-small matter of the head coach. Dan Healy had arrived to take the reins, making him the fourth Hilltopper Head Coach in as many seasons.  New players, new coach, new system. In sum, it looked like a proverbial rebuilding year.
Well, someone forgot to tell the players and coaches associated with the program or, if it was a rebuilding season, it was far from a tear down.  More like the basketball version of a live-in remodel. 
Numbers in sport rarely lie, but occasionally they do shroud the truth a bit.  True, despite a gritty performance, Summit ended their season with 53-40 loss to Mendham in the State Tournament.  Also true, the loss meant the Hilltoppers season record stood at .500 -- twelve wins and losses each.

The traditionally average-looking record does not indicate the decidedly above average, over-achieving nature of the team. a group which -- after slogging through a tough stretch from late December into mid-January -- went 8-5 leading into the State Tournament.
After learning Healy's new system and -- more importantly -- committing to it, the team gelled.  On most nights, Jordan Gonzalez was the top point getter, Wong the floor general, Pat Maloney played big inside, sophomore Will Schaffer was the sniper from distance, and either Dan Montgomery or Paul Flanagan servied as the consummate "glue guy" who contributed in myriad ways.  
But, given Healy's 94-foot, up-tempo on both ends of the floor philosophy, it took a rotation of nine-plus players to get the job done, so contributions from the likes of Gary West, Michael Kaelin, Alex Dadourian and Xavier McCormick were not only welcomed, they were vital.
The players bought in, and the coaches "coached them up."  Healy brought a passion and energy to the program, and made a smart move in assembling a staff around him -- which included Dave Field, Tim Simo, Wellington Smith, and Don Standing -- that brought strong skills of their own, and significant local knowledge.
The program looks poised for a big uptick.  The three graduating seniors -- Gonzalez, Maloney, and Montgomery -- will certainly leave a large hole to fill, and the program will once again need to replace their leading scorer next season.  But the returning players, led by Wong, will have a familiarity with the system and its leader, and should hit the court running.  Plus, they will be no doubt joined by several players from the JV squad, which had a successful 15-5 season.
The contest versus Mendham showed just how far Summit has come this season.  In a quarter where Gonzalez scored every Summit point, the Hilltoppers were tied after one, 11-11, and trailed by just one, at 18-17, at the half.
Despite back-to-back three balls fro the Minutemen's Brendan O'Donnell, Summit hung tough in the third quarter and trailed just 31-27 heading into the final frame in what looked to be a one or two possession game down to the wire.
Mendham showed it's class in the fourth, however, opening with a three and slowly, patiently, and efficiently easing the lead out to double digits.  Summit was chasing the game, and not converting on the offensive end.  Mendham, meanwhile, was coolly taking what the Hilltoppers gave them, which meant a string of trips to the charity stripe.
Brian Kenez made most of his 12 free throws during the second half and a bunch in the final frame.  Automatic at the line, Kenez ended as the game's high scorer with 22 points.  Gonzalez led Summit with 17, with Wayne Wong -- a force all night on both ends of the floor -- chipping in eight.
"Mendham is a really good team, and the goal was come out in a 2-3 zone, keep it close, and turn it on late," said Healy.  "We just needed to convert better at both ends of the floor."
Still, Healy freely confessed his pride, affection, and respect for his team.  "Credit to the kids, fourth coach in four years, and they had a lot learning to do.  I really like this group, they bought in, and I am grateful every day that I got to coach these guys."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Wed, February 21, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Family Storytime

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education


Wed, February 21, 4:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Bilingual Math and Science Story Time

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education


Wed, February 21, 4:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Bilingual Math and Science Storytime: Ages 3-K

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education

Summit Fire Department Blotter

12/16/17 7:42 am     FD dispatched to DE FOREST AVENUE and MAPLE STREET for a strong odor of natural gas in area. On arrival found an outside odor of natural gas. PSEG was requested and responded to the scene. Readings of 7% natural gas were found in the manholes in the center of the intersection. CVS was checked and zero readings for natural gas were found. Summit FD was released ...

Summit Police Blotter

February 12, 2018

2/1 - At 0955 hours a report was taken for a theft of a street sign. The unlawful incident occurred between an unknown time frame on Pine Grove Avenue. Value of the street sign was not immediately available at the time of the report.

2/5 - Roberto C. Noel-Berman, 23, of Summit was arrested and charged with possession of CDS. Mr. Noel-Berman was released with a pending court date.

2/5 - ...

Summit's Beacon UU Supports Newark Residents on Pollution Problem        

February 21, 2018

For four decades, Ronson cigarette lighters were produced in a factory on Manufacturers Place in the Ironbound section of Newark, resulting in contamination of soil and water by the industrial solvent Trichloroethylene (TCE).

In 1989, the factory closed, and a decade later houses were built on a site that environmental officials had restricted to nonresidential uses. Today, toxic TCE ...

Point View's Dietze, Petrides Tell LA Times How to Make Sense of Market's Volatility

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, along with the firm's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, comment in the Los Angeles Times on mistakes investors should avoid when the market heads south:

The duo's advice is part of a piece ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

Investors love to rally around a stock story. Today it’s all about the FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) are a major reason why the S&P 500 rallied so much in 2017. Mr. Market is convinced the FAANGs are impervious to a sell-off. “Its different this time” is ringing loud and clear, but will the outcome really be that ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

Movies! Movies! Movies! - Three Ways to Enjoy Movies

Most people who use the Summit Free Public Library are familiar with our video collection: thousands of DVDs and nearly 800 BluRays -- and growing!

In addition to recent box-office hits and Hollywood classics, we have foreign films, anime, and musical performances from Aida to ZZ Top. Binge-watch a must-see TV series, discover a new one, or introduce your kids to your childhood ...